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All About Designer Dog Breeds


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Hear a kind of dog with a funny or unique name lately? It’s probably a “designer breed,” also known as a hybrid of two different dog breeds. The first generation of designer dogs are developed by crossing two purebreds, and the offspring of these crosses go by the same name. For example, the parents of a Goldendoodle can either be a Golden Retriever and a Poodle, or two Goldendoodles. Most designer breeds were developed in the early 2000’s and have become increasingly popular since then by serving different purposes. Learn more about 10 of our favorite designer dogs, below!

1. Goldendoodle


The Goldendoodle is a cross between a Golden Retriever and Poodle. The breed hybrid was developed in the 1990’s to have the friendly, energetic nature of a Golden Retriever and the allergy-friendly coat of a Poodle and has since become one of America’s most popular dogs.

2. Labradoodle


Labradoodles are a cross between a Labrador Retriever and Poodle. Developed in Australia in the late 1980’s, this breed hybrid continues to gain popularity for its easy trainability and outgoing personality. They were originally bred as allergy-friendly aids to the blind, and they are now a favorite companion dog among many North American homes.

3. Maltipoo


This popular mix known as the Maltipoo is a combination of a Maltese and a Poodle. The breed was specially created to be a small-sized companion dog with an allergy-friendly coat. They are clever and quick to learn, and make great watch dogs, often barking at anything suspicious in sight! The Maltipoo will charm your socks off, and then curl up on your feet to keep your toes warm.

4. Cockapoo


The Cockapoo is made by breeding a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle. This breed is one of the older “designer” breeds, likely resulting from an accidental breeding in the 1960’s. Cockapoos are people-oriented, compassionate, intelligent and make excellent pets for families with children. They are prized for their intelligence, low-shedding coat and easygoing nature.

5. Frenchton


The Frenchton is a mix between a French Bulldog and a Boston Terrier, but unlike other designer dog breeds which are half one breed and half another, Frenchtons are 75 percent French bulldog and 25 percent Boston Terrier. This dog was developed in the 1990’s to create a healthier, more energetic breed than its parent breeds. These dogs are friendly, loving and intelligent, and are well suited for apartment living.

6. Morkie


The Morkie is a cross between a Maltese and a Yorkshire Terrier. Both parent breeds are known for having a lot of personality, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Morkie does as well! They love to play and exercise, and are eager to please their owners. As long as they have a lap to sit on, they do equally well in apartments or larger living spaces.

7. Pomsky


A cross between a Pomeranian and a Siberian Husky, the Pomsky has achieved rapid popularity in recent years. Usually active and energetic, this rarer designer breed tends to be highly intelligent, loving, playful and self-assured. Pomskies can also make great guard dogs, like both of their parent breeds. The appearance and size of a Pomsky can vary greatly, but very often they look like miniature Huskies.

8. Puggle


The Puggle is a cross between a Beagle and a Pug. Originating in the 1980s, Puggles combine the Beagle’s boundless energy and the Pug’s warm, loving personality. These dogs also have the Beagle’s incredible sense of smell and desire to track, and the Pug’s slightly pushed-in face. They vary in color and size, but are consistently popular family dogs and easy to take care of and train.

9. Shihpoo


This crossbreed is a mix between a Shih-Tzu and a Poodle. Shihpoos are very loving and playful, and get along very well with other pets and children. Also known as “Shoodles,” these are easy to train, intelligent dogs that do well in any size home. The appearance of a Shihpoo may vary, but this dog consistently has a cute, alert expression and a devoted, people-oriented personality.

10. Aussiedoodle


The Aussiedoodle is a cross between an Australian Shepherd and a Poodle. Each of those parent breeds is considered one of the more intelligent breeds, so crossing the two makes for a super-smart pup! Aussiedoodles are wonderful for families with small children, but watch out: they sometimes bump into children with the intent to “herd” them! While Aussiedoodles love to be active, they are just as happy curling up at your feet as they are happy playing outside.

These are just 10 of the many adorable designer breeds out there. Do you have a favorite designer dog that didn’t make the list?

The Dark Truth About Smoking Around Your Dog


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We all know smoking around others can be detrimental to even a non-smoker’s health, but what about smoking around your dog? You may have seen the recent anti-smoking campaign by Truth which condemns smoking around pets, warning, “Fact: Dogs and cats are twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes.” Cancer is the last thing we want for precious Fido, so let’s examine the consequences of this common, yet dangerous habit on our furry friends.

According to petMD, dogs living with smoking owners are more likely than dogs with non-smoking owners to develop lung cancer and respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. In addition, the type of snout your dog has will determine how secondhand smoke affects him. Research shows that while the chemicals found in cigarettes can more readily reach the lungs of dogs with shorter noses (such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers), these toxins cause an increased risk of cancer by 250% in long-nosed dogs (such as Dachshunds and Collies) due to the chronic buildup of carcinogens in their nasal passages.

Assistant Professor Heather Wilson-Robles at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science (CVM) describes the symptoms of pets with lung diseases, including: dry hacking, progressive cough, or harder-to-manage asthma symptoms. She also notes that accidental ingestion of tobacco products can result in “gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased salivation and trembling.”

Wilson-Robles recommends that while the best way to avoid smoking-related health issues in pets is to quit smoking altogether, there are other courses of action that smokers can take to lessen the harm on their four-legged friends. First, dog-owning smokers should immediately cease smoking directly around their dog. And, after smoking, owners should wash their hands completely before handling their dog or any item with which the dog may come into contact.

Lastly, if a dog accidentally eats a disposed tobacco product, the owner should call an emergency clinic immediately as they will medically induce vomiting in the case the dog does not vomit up the product on his own. Some signs of nicotine poisoning in dogs include tremors, twitching, or seizures; drooling; constricted pupils; auditory and visual hallucinations; excitement, racing heart; and vomiting and diarrhea.

As with nicotine, marijuana can also affect dogs differently than it affects humans. Dogs can get high from second-hand marijuana smoke, ingesting edibles or by eating parts of the marijuana plant. According to caninejournal.com,  the effects of marijuana on dogs include lethargy, breathing problems, lower blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, loss of balance and incontinence. While recreational marijuana continues to gain legality in some states, marijuana is not yet approved for canine use and should not be given to your dog.

Just as important it is to look out for one’s own pet’s health, it is likewise necessary to be mindful of one’s behavior around other animals. Smokers should abide by proper smoking etiquette while in public; if you wouldn’t smoke near a child or your own dog, don’t smoke right next to someone else’s pet. Similarly, non-smoking dog-owners should take the proper precautions to avoid coming into contact with smokers and their byproducts, as well as to keep a watchful eye on what their dog digs its nose into outside of the house.

Everyone is well-aware of the dangers of smoking, but your canine’s health and well-being may just be one more reason to quit the habit. At the very least, dog-owners should be aware of the effects and take measures to keep smoking limited to a private space, away from their beloved animals.

Brachycephalic Dogs: The Truth About Those Adorable, Pushed-In Little Noses


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The first thing you probably notice when you see a pug, boxer, or bulldog is that cute, wrinkly, smooshed-in face (Who can resist those velvety folds?). But underneath those wrinkles is a medical condition to be aware of, which can negatively impact a dog’s quality of life. If you have a dog or are thinking about getting a dog with a “snub nose,” here’s what you need to know in order to keep him as comfortable and healthy as possible.

Breeds with flat noses have a condition called “brachycephalic syndrome.” The term brachycephalic refers to a broad, short skull shape that gives certain breeds a distinct snub-nosed appearance. While it’s typically easy to spot a brachycephalic dog based on physical appearance, there are varying degrees of severity. Here is a complete list of brachycephalic breeds:

Because Brachycephalic dogs have a structural narrowing at the nostrils, the back of the throat, and in the windpipe, most dogs with the condition prefer to breathe through their mouths due to the increased airway resistance in their noses. Mildly affected dogs will breathe noisily, snort when excited and snore while sleeping. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, your pup may become distressed, especially after exercise or in warmer temperatures. On very hot days, brachycephalic dogs run a high risk of heat stroke because of their difficulty regulating body temperature.

In addition to breathing loudly, snorting, and snoring, there are a few other signs of distress to watch out for, including retching or gagging, especially while swallowing, which indicates an elongated soft palate and is a sign of trouble. Dogs with elongated soft palates often prefer to sleep on their backs because it makes breathing easier. Watch out for blue gums, blue tongue or fainting after exercise; in extreme cases, this can indicate lack of oxygen in your pup’s blood. Take a look at your dog’s nostrils, too – do they look normal, or do they appear to be pinched closed? Nostrils that are closed too far to allow for proper air flow are a part of the brachycephalic syndrome, and are called “stenotic nares.” While this condition is present from birth, it may not affect your dog until later in life, so even if your dog does not currently show symptoms, it’s important to continue to monitor your brachycephalic dog closely.

Treatment Options

  • Check in with your vet regularly and keep tabs on the condition. Not all dogs require surgery to be comfortable, but many benefit from corrective procedures if preventative measures are not enough to provide your pup relief.
  • Learn what’s normal for your pooch. Once you figure out which snorts and snores are status quo, you’ll know immediately when you hear troubling breathing sounds or a new type of snorting that it’s time to visit your vet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your pup. Obesity can make breathing problems worse.
  • Always regulate your dog’s temperature and exercise, especially during the summer months. As mentioned, hot and humid weather increases a brachycephalic dog’s risk of heat stroke, so make sure he stays cool.
  •  Consider using a harness instead of a collar. A collar can pull on your dog’s larynx, making breathing even more difficult.
  • Sometimes, surgery is necessary to allow your dog to breathe normally and improve his quality of life. The soft palate can be surgically trimmed shorter, stenotic nares can be widened, and both are simple, minimally invasive procedures.
  •  Lastly, consider spaying or neutering. Since this condition is inherited, it’s a good idea to avoid breeding a dog that suffers from severe brachycephalic syndrome. Use your vet as a resource, stay informed on new treatment options and do your part to keep your wrinkly-faced pooch safe.

When Your Dog Has Cancer


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Hearing your loved one has cancer can be devastating, whether it’s a family member or your furry friend. Yet in both pets and humans, cancer is a reality that cannot be ignored. In honor of Pet Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve put together a guide for understanding, detecting and treating cancer in dogs.

Types of Canine Cancer
thumbnail-cancer
According to WebMD, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10, but experts say that half of all cancers are curable if caught early. Dogs can develop a variety of cancers including mast cell tumors, a form of skin cancer; malignant lymphoma, tumors in the lymph nodes; breast cancer, which occurs as mammary gland tumors; and soft tissue sarcomas. Other common types of cancer in dogs are Hemangiosarcoma or cancer of the blood vessels; Malignant Histiocytosis, which is cancer of the white blood cells; Melanoma; Osteosarcoma or bone cancer; and prostate cancer.

Causes
You may be relieved to know that while it may seem that cancer is an extremely common diagnosis in dogs, the main reason we are hearing about it so much these days is that dog owners are taking better care of their pooches to the point that dogs are living long enough to develop the disease. Cancer in any species is multifactorial, meaning that there is not a single cause one can pinpoint for why it develops, but the reasons are thought to be both hereditary and environmental. For the hereditary case, there are some breeds of dog more prone to cancer than others. You should be especially on the lookout for cancer if your dog is one of the following:

Among the possible environmental causes of canine cancer are intact sex organs, exposure to tobacco smoke and toxic environments.

Signs and Symptoms
Just like in humans, one of the most typical signs of cancer in dogs is an abnormal lump or bump. Other classic signs are a wound that doesn’t heal, any kind of swelling, enlarged lymph nodes or abnormal bleeding. These are signs that should be addressed immediately by taking your dog to a veterinarian. Especially if your dog is over the age of 10, there are other, subtler signs that should not be ignored, which include unusual odors, unusual weight loss, loss of appetite, respiratory problems, lack of energy or bone stiffness.

Treatment and Prevention
With early detection, cancer in dogs is very preventable. You can also lower your dog’s risk of breast or prostate cancer by spaying or neutering. In addition, healthy diet and exercise are always recommended to give your dog a long, happy life. However, if the cancer spreads quickly before it is detected, there are methods of treatment which still give your dog a chance at survival. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are among the common options. However, these can be costly and may require a specialized payment plan with your vet.

If your dog develops cancer, as distressing as the news it, it shouldn’t be a cause of complete hopelessness. A dog with just a small lump that needs to be removed has a very good long-term prognosis, and even cases of malignant cancer have at least a 60 percent success range, according to WebMD. Recovery should take months rather than years. While nobody wants to imagine their dog having cancer, awareness and early intervention of the disease can ultimately give your furry friend a long, healthy and happy life.

Dog Breeds by Fur: Low to High Maintenance Pooches


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When deciding on the best dog for your family, grooming responsibilities probably don’t top of the list of criteria during breed selection. However, depending on your financial situation and time constraints, hair may be a factor worth considering. Depending on the type of dog and their grooming needs, you could be visiting a professional groomer as much as every two-four weeks, or at a minimum, intensively brushing at home on a daily basis. Here’s a rundown of the lowest to highest maintenance pups when it comes to hair, which should help with setting expectations, planning and budgeting.

Short-haired, smaller dogs are going to require the least amount of grooming. An important caveat however is that even though these breeds are short-haired, they will still shed somewhat as all dogs shed some fur. Check out these breeds with low grooming needs if you’d rather not trade in your day job for a styling gig.

Italian Greyhound
Boston Terrier
Miniature Pinscher
• Harrier
Dalmation
• Whippet
• German Pinscher
• Basenji
• Australian Kelpie
Weimaraner
Vizsla
• English Foxhound
Boxer
Rottweiler
• Black & Tan Coonhound
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Mastiff
Great Dane
Bloodhound
• Neapolitan Mastiff

talk-ab-fur-thumbnailConversely, if you can’t resist a fluffy, long-haired pup, target this list of styling breeds, who require more hands-on attention to their coats to avoid matting, shedding and hygiene issues.

Akita
Alaskan Malamute
• Bearded Collie
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bichon Frise
• Border Terrier (or most terriers, for that matter)
Bulldog
Chow Chow
Cockapoo
Cocker Spaniel (and most other Spaniels)
Collie
• English or Irish Setter
• Giant, Standard and Miniature Schnauzers
Havanese
Lhasa Apso
Maltipoo
Old English Sheepdog (and other sheep dogs)
• Pekingese
Pomeranian
Poodle
Portuguese Water Dog
Shih Tzu
Siberian Husky

Hold The Elevator: Best Dogs For Apartment Living


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While any dog can thrive in an apartment setting if given the right amount of exercise, there are certain breeds considered ideal housemates in smaller living spaces. As a general rule of thumb, if a dog can fit in your purse, it can fit in your apartment – but there are exceptions! Some small breeds have high energy levels, and would do best with more room to run and play. On the other hand, some larger breeds are low energy and wouldn’t mind living in an apartment with less space. So, with a grain of salt, take a look at these perfect apartment-dwelling breeds based on size, energy level and personality.

Yorkie – The ever-popular Yorkie is cute, cuddly and compact – what more could you ask for? These small, affectionate dogs are keen to be near their owners, typically only weigh between 5-7 pounds, and are easily exercised indoors.

MalteseMaltese are adorable, gentle companions. They are the quintessential lap dog and love to be pampered, cuddled and held. These 4-7 pound dogs are also easy to train, and don’t have high exercise requirements, making them excellent apartment residents.

Havanese – These small dogs have big personalities! Eager to learn and easily trained, Havanese are between 10-15 pounds when fully grown, and make excellent companion pets. They are playful and somewhat active, but are easily manageable in an apartment.

PugPugs have an amusing, distinctive appearance and are generally considered to be a very adaptable breed. They are loyal, quiet dogs that love to be with their owners and have low exercise requirements, making them a good pet for living spaces of any size.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – These dogs want nothing more than to be by your side! Fairly small at 13-18 pounds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is friendly and easy going, and will get along with anyone. They excel in smaller living spaces because of their calm and adaptable nature.

Bichon Frise – This fancy, fluffy pup is energetic, but can be exercised easily indoors as well as out. At only 7-12 pounds., the Bichon makes a quiet, loving apartment dog – and bonus, they shed much less than other breeds, ideal for living in close quarters!

Bulldog (French and English) – Both French and English Bulldogs tend to be low energy, content to laze around and be by your side, which make them great apartment pets. These dogs thrive on human contact and make great watchdogs. Plus, have you seen those adorable wrinkly faces…?

Shih Tzu – Bred to be a friendly lap dog, the Shih Tzu is certainly good at its job! They are affectionate, mellow and adaptable to any living environment.

hold-elevator-thumbnailBoston Terrier – Ideal because of their size, this breed is fairly energetic and will need to be walked daily. But, if you can keep a Boston Terrier well-exercised, these little gentlemen and ladies make devoted, gentle apartment pets.

Dachshund – These distinctive dogs have short legs, long bodies, and big hearts. They are lively dogs that love to exercise indoors and out. Dachshunds tend to attach strongly to their owners and are extremely affectionate, making them great roommates.

ChihuahuaChihuahuas are tiny and love to cuddle – especially in the cold winter months, as they can be sensitive to low temperatures. They require minimal exercise, but are fun and playful when you want to be active. These little guys and girls make excellent apartment dogs!

Pomeranian – This little fluff ball is feisty and full of energy, but at only 3-7 pounds, they don’t need much room to get their exercise! The Pomeranian is affectionate and outgoing and will take comfort in curling up next to you, no matter how small your apartment.

Great Dane – So, a Great Dane might not seem like the best option for an apartment based on his size – anywhere from 100-200 pounds as adults – but these big guys are actually very low energy and are content to lay on the couch right next to you. As quiet and friendly as they are, this breed would make an excellent apartment roommate!